Overview

Chevrolet as a brand has always been associated with large sedans, SUVs and sports cars with charm, luxury and some level of excitement behind the wheel for decades. However, the American carmaker also makes small and affordable cars which, for as long as the company has been in existence, have had a reputation of being umm… not that great (Corvair, Chevette, and Vega have left the chat). Well, that was a while ago and the stigma of Chevy making bad small cars was finally corrected by the introduction of a certain city runabout called the ‘Sonic’. The 2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan is one of those cars with a basic body combined with a small turbocharged engine.

Yes, this is the smallest Chevy you can buy in the North American market and unlike its predecessors; it has won many awards and critical acclaim since its release in 2012 and even a JD Power award for the ‘Most Dependable Car’ of 2016 which is no mean feat. Of course, with the stellar sales figures and want of a new ‘Sonic’, the guys at GM have answered the demand and have brought in a new 2020 Chevrolet Sonic which we shall review and let you know if it’s any good. Also, we shall be testing the sedan version today which is almost mechanically similar to the hatchback model with the addition of a boot. Let’s jump right in without further ado then…

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Front Look
2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Front Look
2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Ratings
Overall
7/10
7/10
  • Features - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Interior - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Exterior - 6.5/10
    6.5/10
  • Fuel Economy - 7/10
    7/10
  • Safety - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Engine & Performance - 7/10
    7/10

Pros

  • Nimble and quick
  • Spacious
  • Mobile connectivity features
  • Quite the looker
  • Smooth 6-speed automatic gearbox

Cons

  • Fuel Economy could be better
  • No more manual gearbox
  • Interior quality not as great as rivals

What’s new in 2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan?

Here are the new additions in the Chevrolet Sonic for 2020-

  • The infotainment system has been updated
  • The manual gearbox setup has been dropped
  • Old 1.8 L engine and naturally aspirated engines have been dropped

Apart from these changes, it’s the same car as the 2019 Sonic but thanks to Chevy dropping the manual gearbox, enthusiastic drivers looking for a sporty commuter car may be disappointed. Apart from the Sedan, Sonic is also offered in a Hatchback Variant throughout the US.

Read the 2019 Chevy Sonic Review

Trims and features

There are three trims in which the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic is available in the LS, LT and the top-model Premier. The features and descriptions of each trim are provided in the table below:

Sonic Sedan LT

  • Price: $16,720
  • 10 airbags
  • 6-speed automatic gearbox
  • 4-wheel Anti-lock Brakes(ABS)
  • 1 month free trial of OnStar safety and security package
  • 1 month free trial of Chevrolet Connected Services

Sonic Sedan LS

  • Price: $18,620
  • Adds all the features of the LT Trims plus the following:
  • 15-inch aluminum wheels Premium 6 speaker sound system
  • Heated and power-adjustable side-view mirrors that match body-color
  • Sirius XM radio subscription free trial for 3 months

Sonic Sedan Premier

  • Price: $20,720
  • Adds all the features of the LT Trims plus the following:
  • 17-inch aluminum wheels
  • Keyless open and start
  • Enhanced driver information center
  • Perforated Leatherette seating.

Which 2020 Sonic We Recommend?

The LT model, despite being the cheapest one, lacks the most basic exterior features like side-view mirrors that match the body color and aluminum painted wheels due to which it looks very barbaric even in this segment of tiny commuter cars.

The best one to go for is possibly the LS trim that adds all the safety features of the LT (standard to all trims) mentioned above along with painted wheels in aluminum, a sublime audio system and side mirrors that match the body color of the exterior. Of course, the champagne Charlie of the bunch, the Premier trim is very well-equipped but $20,720 for a car in this segment is too much when compared to its Japanese rivals like the Nissan Versa and Honda Fit.

So, in a nutshell, we recommend you to skip the “basic” base model (see what we did there?) and move on to the LS Sedan for $18,620.

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan LS
2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan LS

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Performance

Engine & Transmission

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic only comes with a 1.4 liter turbocharged, 4-cylinder motor under the hood; thus replacing the earlier naturally aspirated units. Although most petrol heads have probably lost interest by now, we have to say that this new unit is suited perfectly for the car and barely shows any signs of turbo lag while being refined and zippy in high traffic conditions. Of course, the power goes to the front wheels only and this front-wheel-drive system is a lot better than it was, especially on tight corners which we shall get to in the ‘handling’ section below…

This 1.4-liter power plant produces a healthy 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque and is paired to a 6-speed automatic gearbox which feels like the best transmission option for this car even though we miss the sporty manual one. Probably the only place where this transmission struggles a bit is on hills where the torque delivery feels slow and doesn’t give the much-needed oomph to propel the car forward.

2020 Chevy Sonic Premier Engine
2020 Chevrolet Sonic Premier Engine

Acceleration

The Sonic accelerates from a standstill to 60 mph in just 8.5 seconds which is similar to the Honda Fit with a stick shift and much quicker than the automatic Nissan Versa that did it in 9.5 seconds.

Ride & Handling

Unexpectedly, the Sonic, despite ditching the manual gearbox and natural aspiration has got one thing to impress enthusiastic drivers on the move: the steering. The wheel itself is grippy to hold and provides ample feedback and involvement while being easy to change directions quickly and smoothly. If you choose the regular base suspension, the ride is smooth and comfortable but the ‘sporty’ suspension available in the Sonic this time offers a stiff ride but can be appreciated by true driving fanatics. On the whole, the handling is great and the Sonic is not as dull to drive as the earlier iterations of the car.

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Fuel Economy

Sonic Sedan claims to give a fuel economy of 34 miles to the gallon which is lesser than what rivals in the segment offer. Even with the manual transmission, the Honda Fit manages to give 43 MPG.

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Interior

The interior of the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic looks pretty dated and basic but has been revised to make it feel more modern than it was in its predecessors. The materials feel cheap and the plastic bits feel very itchy and scratchy to touch but at least they don’t rattle while on the move. This means that although there’s a not a lot on offer in this car when it comes to the interior, it is well screwed together due to which it attains a cabin noise level of only 67 decibels. Hence, it is more refined than any of its opponents.

The seats are very comfortable especially on long journeys where it feels like it derives the qualities of its bigger siblings like the Cruze and Impala. You do get 6-way power-adjustable seats as standard in the Premier trim and along with that, the thigh support and back support are sublime which is great since you’d need a comfy place to sit in while you blame the terrible traffic on your way to work every morning. Despite the level of trim you choose, the seats are equally comfortable while the leatherette in the Premier feels a little sticky and rough after a while of getting used to driving it so maybe the fabric seats are better in the long run.

The steering wheel of the Sonic almost resembles the shape of a flat-bottom wheel and is a three-spoke here which feels grippy and nice to touch in comparison to the rest of the interior. Legroom both in the front and back is excellent and the same goes for the hood room as well since this car has a taller roofline than you’d expect it to have. Visibility from the front is also great since the dash feels lower than it used to be despite its weird curvature and the slightly busy center console.

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Seating
2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan Seating

Cargo Space

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan offers a considerably large trunk room for its class. 14.9 Cubic feet of cargo space and you can carry two large suitcases. Furthermore, the rear seats can be folded and the extra space can be used to store one more bag giving you extra cargo room. The trunk’s height is high but the floor is clear of all objects. Small storage spaces are available all over the car in the door side pockets with space appropriate for small bottles and other small things.

Infotainment

One of the only differences this car has in comparison to earlier models is the revised infotainment system which comprises a standard 7-inch infotainment screen which is pretty straight forward and easy to use. The response timings of the screen are quick and some audio/video functions may be controlled via the buttons mounted onto the steering wheel. On top of that, there’s also a basic trip computer display on the right of the instrument cluster that tells you the maximum distance the car can take you under the current driving circumstances and fuel in the tank.

As expected, the mobile connectivity aspects are well taken care of by Sonic’s infotainment system as it offers both Apple Carplay and Android Auto along with Bluetooth connectivity, a few USB ports, and even a 4G Wi-Fi system. The LS trims comes standard with a 4 speaker audio system while the LT and Premier trims offer a much better 6 speaker system that has excellent audio quality and clarity. A Sirius XM subscription for 3 months is also available in the LT trim while it is an optional extra in the base LS. On the whole, Sonic’s infotainment system is a joy to use and its mobile connectivity features are plenty in number as well.

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Infotainment
2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan Infotainment

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Interior Pictures

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Exterior

Design and Dimensions

Now we come to the exterior design department of the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic. At a glance, there isn’t much of a difference between this model and the 2019 one and even up close, it looks the same as it used to because, viola, they haven’t changed anything here. Of course, it is a rather edgy looking little thing in comparison to all the milder and more subtle designs used by its Japanese rivals which is a good thing because a little bit of individuality cannot harm a car. Although we thoroughly like the design of this car, we do feel that it is better suited to the hatchback body style than the sedan but that’s subjective, to be honest.

The Exterior dimensions are as follows:

Wheelbase (in./mm): 99.4/2525
Overall Length (in./mm):173.9/4416
Overall Width (in./mm):68.3/1735
Overall Height (in./mm): 59.7/1516
Track (in/mm):59.4/1509 (front) 59.4/1509 (rear)
2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Exterior Dimensions
2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Exterior Dimensions

Exterior Features

The list of exterior features in this car is as follows:

  • ‘Intellibeam ‘ headlights that turn on automatically
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rearview camera
  • Plastic black mirrors on the side
  • Body-color side-view mirrors
  • Heated and power-adjustable side-view mirrors
  • 15 and 17 inch painted aluminum wheels
  • Keyless entry

2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Exterior Pictures

 

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Safety

The list of safety features of this car is as follows:

  • 10 airbags
  • 4-wheel Anti-lock Braking System
  • ‘Intellibeam’ automatic headlights
  • Forward collision alert
  • Lane change alert
  • Side blind zone alert
  • Rear park assist
  • Front pedestrian braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Child door locks
  • Child seat anchors
  • Rearview camera
  • 1 month free trial of ‘OnStar’ safety and security package.

How much will the 2020 Chevy Sonic Sedan Cost?

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan starts at $16,720 for the base LS model and goes up to $18,620 for the LT Sedan and the top-model Premier will set you back around $20,720.

 Cost of Ownership

The approximate cost of owning the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic, in the long run, is shown below and is broken down into various aspects of ownership. Please note that these figures may change concerning how you maintain the car.

  • Depreciation: $11,730
  • Fuel Cost: $6,950
  • Financing cost: $3,225
  • Insurance cost; $4,269
  • Maintenance: $4,295
  • Repairs: $791

Hence, the total cost of owning the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic would be $31,260

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan Competition

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan VS 2020 Nissan Versa:

(Pricing: $14,730-18,420)

The Nissan Versa, despite being available in the market since 2006, has only recently become a force to be reckoned with in the small commuter sedan market. The current N18 generation Versa has been stacking up great reviews from people who have driven it and it also has a cheaper price tag than the Sonic with features as good as the Chevy both inside and out. The interior of the Versa is truly a thing of beauty and neither the Fit nor the Sonic comes close to how aesthetic the cabin is to look at. You are greeted by a sporty looking, proper flat-bottom steering wheel with an optional digital tachometer display and plush leatherette garnishing the dash. Just judging from the pictures of the Versa’s cabin alone, you get a feeling that Nissan has been taking notes on interior design from Mazda and the subtle yet gorgeous dash resembles that of the Mazda 3 especially with its optional cream and black dash.

The interior of the Versa may be gorgeous and the exterior is quite pretty as well but the Nissan takes the back seat in the performance talk as it comes with an underpowered 122 hp 4-cylinder engine that is mated to a CVT Automatic transmission. At the end of the day, if you are the type of buyer who isn’t bothered about sporty driving in your small commuter car, maybe the Versa might prove to be a better alternative.

2020 Nissan Versa
2020 Nissan Versa

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan VS 2019 Mazda 3

If the Versa has nailed it in the interior department, the Mazda 3 has nailed it in both the interior and exterior aspects. Arguably the prettiest commuter hatchback on sale, the Mazda 3 showcases its brilliance and sports car tradition through small but effective cues like the tail lights with racing-inspired ring lights similar to the RX-7 FC and that aggressive low-slung front end. When you’re finally done drooling at the exterior, it is time to take a look at the interior which is well put together and feels way more premium than it should be. To be honest, the interior looks like it belongs in a concept car and it is admirable how Mazda green-lit such an outlandish yet pretty design in a normal 5-seater hatchback.

One major drawback of this car is the fuel economy which is almost on par with the Sonic sedan. It gives 31 MPG on average but depending on driving style, it may even go up to 37 MPG. The Mazda 3 also happens to be the leader in the performance department as it comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-banger with almost 186 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque that may be mated to a 6-speed manual or automatic. Hence, the Mazda is sporty, gorgeous and has some amount of uniqueness to it so if you’re into all that, it may prove to be a better car for your needs.

2020 Mazda 3
2020 Mazda 3

Our Final Verdict

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan has truly climbed up in the world of small sedans and the growth it has achieved since its release is remarkable. It’s quite comfortable to drive and to travel in, has a decent amount of performance and a silky smooth transmission that makes driving in high-traffic conditions almost effortless which are all great strengths for a car like this. The only drawback of this car are the lack of a manual shifter, the interior build quality and maybe the fuel economy figures but on the whole, it is a great car that is practical and easy to live with. We at Carhp.com agree…

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